Thank you for reading my last blog post. I am still not okay since the Turkey-Syria earthquake death toll rose above 46,000. I wanted to write this blog post to take my mind off it.
I decided to study Trinity DipTESOL (Diploma in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) and started the course via OxfordTEFL last month. I want to share my first impressions with you in case you have considered doing it or wonder if it’s worth it.
TEFL? TESOL? DELTA? DipTESOL?
TEFL? TESOL? DELTA? DipTESOL? Don’t let the terminology confuse you! Although there are some differences between them, all these certificate or diploma programs have one goal: to help you become a better ELT (English language teacher).
TEFL means teaching English as a foreign language, and TESOL stands for teaching English as a second language. The former is common among teachers who teach English in countries where English is learned as a foreign language, such as Japan or Brazil, while the latter is for teachers who teach in English where English is learned as a second language, such as the US or Australia.
Those who are serious about teaching and improving their teaching skills find TEFL/TESOL certificates insufficient after a while. Instead, they move on to the more intense and globally-recognized certificate programs such as CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) by Cambridge or CertTESOL (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) by Trinity College London.
Why Did I Choose DipTESOL?
More experienced teachers who want to up their game choose Cambridge DELTA or Trinity DipTESOL. They are like an extension of CELTA and CertTESOL but much more in-depth and intensive. I already had a 120-hour TESOL certificate and six years of teaching experience under my belt, so I skipped CELTA and CertTESOL and directly enrolled in DipTESOL.
I vacillated between DELTA and Trinity DipTESOL for about six months(!) and finally went for DipTESOL because it has an extra phonology module that has always interested me. Learning more about phonology and doing phonology assignments has been a game-changer for me so far.
You can always read up on the English language and teaching and improve your teaching skills. That was what I had been doing before I joined Oxford TEFL. However, I couldn’t give feedback on my own teaching since I wasn’t an outsider. Sure, I could record my classes and then watch them, but I couldn’t critique my teaching objectively.
When you do an intensive course such as DipTESOL, you don’t only learn theory but also get to practice teaching. In addition, professional tutors give you feedback and want to help you become a better teacher. Lastly, you are surrounded by motivated and experienced colleagues whose teaching contexts differ from yours and whose skills can give you those “a-ha” moments.
How Is It So Far?
Although it’s been only a month since I started doing my DipTESOL, I can tell you that it is intense! I have been learning many things that could have eluded me if I hadn’t chosen this path. We have covered a few units in a month, but I already feel improvement in how my teaching brain functions.
When I write a lesson plan or talk in front of my students, I pay attention to my teacher voice and try to be more mindful of it. As a result, I anticipate my students’ mistakes more quickly and understand their origins. Since I learned more about the phonetic chart, I am confident in teaching pronunciation in the classroom. I plan to integrate it into my classes to help my students with pronunciation.
The study phase lasts seven months, so it’s still early to say that. But, even if I couldn’t complete the course or take the exams in the future, I would still leave it as a better teacher. So doing it is still better than not doing it for me. That’s how I feel about the course. One thing worth mentioning is that a DipTESOL (or DELTA) program is accredited as a Level 7 qualification, the same level as master’s degrees in the UK.
What Kind of Student Am I?
You know how spontaneous I am from my adventure posts, don’t you? But did you also know I am a scatterbrain? Studying for a master’s-level course for me is a serious commitment. That means I have to be more organized and sacrifice my weekends, which are usually full of adventures.
I wish I could show you my study planner, highlighters, and other visual aids that most organized people use, but they don’t exist. Instead, I do my weekly reading, take notes in my messy notebook that has no order whatsoever, watch videos, and work on my assignments. I have good grades on my assignments, so I am hopeful about the future.
What Are My Plans After That?
I don’t have an ulterior motive for doing this course other than becoming a better teacher. Because my undergraduate studies are outside of education, I have always wanted to do my studies in ELT. After completing my DipTESOL studies and passing my exams, I will feel even more confident and produce more quality materials for my lessons.
A few different career paths exist for those completing their diploma programs, such as material writing or becoming a course director. I would like to create articles in ELT and publish them for novice and experienced teachers. It’s too early to come to a career decision at this stage.
I will continue blogging about my studies as the course progresses. It’s one of the best career decisions I have ever made, so I want to spread this joy to others who wish to boost their teaching skills.
What’s the best career decision you have ever made? Any regrets? Any advice?
Leave a Reply